You’ve been taught the right way to brush your teeth, but did you know that there’s a right (and wrong) way to floss? Proper flossing habits can make a big impact on your dental health.
Brushing your teeth twice a day can help eliminate the bacteria on some of your teeth, but if you’re not flossing, or flossing incorrectly, some of this bacterial will remain in your mouth. The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria that causes both gum disease and decay. When the bacteria and saliva combine with food, it creates plaque, the cavity-causing film that causes tooth rot and gum disease.
Flossing should be just as much a part of your daily dental routine as brushing your teeth, and it’s critical to keeping your teeth healthy. No matter how much you brush your teeth, flossing reaches places that your toothbrush cannot. This is especially true in the tight spots of your mouth, such as where your teeth touch and the gum line.
Not sure you’re using the right technique? Next time you floss, make sure you follow these steps:
- Wrap the floss around your middle fingers. You will be using your thumbs and forefingers to move the floss.
- Gently push the floss between two teeth and use a gentle motion, similar to a sawing motion. Pull the floss back and forth until it eases into the point where two teeth meet. Wrap the floss around the side of one tooth and gently slide the floss up and down several times, paying special attention to go under the gum line. Repeat this step in the other direction.
- Pull the floss out and rotate it so you’re using a clean spot.
If you’re not a regular flosser, your gums may bleed due to bacteria-caused inflammation. Don’t let it freak you out; with regular flossing, it should get better. Use a gentle, non-alcoholic mouthwash containing fluoride once you’ve flossed your teeth to help strengthen your teeth.
Of course, to optimize your dental health, it’s important to have regular cleanings and other preventative measures. Due for a checkup? Contact us and we’ll happily set you up for an appointment.